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tv   Anderson Cooper 360  CNN  October 6, 2010 1:00am-2:00am EDT

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>> larry: i know they think you are taking advantage of your mother's name, you are not. you are going to make it. maybe you should change your name. >> i cannot change --that is my father's name. >> larry: try something, lies it. of luck to you, dear. i am not good at predictions, she jokes. the album is "confessions" and ac 360 starts right now. tonight, truth in advertising. you deserve no less from people seeking your vote. for days since alan grayson launched an attack ad that uses level editing and an outrageous insult we've heard from everyone about it but the congressman. tonight he's here, we're keeping them honest. and conservative groups saying all this talk of anti-bullying programs in school is really a way to spread what they call a gay agenda. but can you prevent kids from bullying other kids without talking about what a big chunk of the bullying is actually about? two sides square off. i'll have an eye opening talk with kids about just how bad bullying has become, and ellen
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degeneres joins me. find out what she's doing to reach kids in need. and a verdict in the connecticut home invasion horror. find out what one killer has been convicted of and for the first time you'll hear from the sole survivor of the attack, the husband of jennifer hawke-petit, murdered, along with her two daughters. you'll also hear what it was like in the courtroom when the verdict was read today. we begin with a politician who passionately believes he's right on the issues but played fast and loose with his opponents words in a campaign ad to make his case. unlike a lot of politicians these days, he isn't running from his own ad. he isn't running from the national media. he's on the program tonight, a week after we first invited him but as you'll see he's got no problem speaking up for himself. the politician we're talking about is florida democratic congressman alan grayson. the ad replaced by something tamer takes a brutal shot at his opponent daniel webster or as the ad calls him, taliban dan. take a look. >> i approve this message. >> religious fanatics try to take away our freedom in
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afghanistan, in iran, and right here in central florida. >> wives, submit yourself to your own husband. >> daniel webster wants to impose his radical fundamentalism on us. >> she should submit to me. that's in the bible. >> webster tried to deny battered women medical care. >> submit to me. >> he wants to force raped women to bear the child. >> submit to me. >> taliban dan webster. hands off our bodies and our laws. >> pretty rough stuff, calling someone metaphorically and even hyperbolically a member of a fanatic group aimed at slaughtering americans, and the language was cherry picked, taken almost breathtakingly out of context. we should take a moment it's not our job to stake out everyone who gets hammered in a campaign ad or get caught up in which side's point of view is good or bad for the country. that's why we have elections, that's up to you to decide. but because elections are on voters having accurate information, we say it's our job keeping them honest.
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i spoke with congressman grayson earlier tonight. >> congressman grayson, appreciate you being on the program. i know you disagree with your opponent and certainly you disagree with his views, but calling him the taliban dan, i mean, it's equivalent to somebody calling somebody a nazi or a maoist. why go down that road? >> in a way you're right. we let that ad run and die a natural death, now we're running an entirely different ad on the same point. because people need to know dan webster's record. >> but the damage has been done. you can say the ad's no longer on the air. it was on the air for quite a while, got plenty of attention, how do you defend it? >> well, pointing out the underlying truth. the underlying truth is webster has an appalling record, 30 years of treating women like second class citizens and i don't think people in the end people will vote for atmospherics, form, they'll vote for substance. >> why not put that in the
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commercial and say that, though. >> well, that's exactly what we did. these issues don't go away depending upon what particular label we put on them, and we have to remember this is someone who will be able to take these crazy ideas and actually put them into law for all of us. >> but you're not -- again. >> your sister and your mother are second class citizens. >> i know you've got talking points and i know those are points you want to make, but again, you're not going to the basic issue which is calling your opponent, labeling him taliban, that kill american forces, kill gay people, throw acid on women, behead people, it's below the belt. you can't defend it. >> actually, what i'm trying to do is to point out in a vivid way that this is someone with an 18th century name and a 13th century conception of how women should live in america and that's what i'm trying to do right now. >> but you're also twisting his words. you've taken a speech that he gave, you edited it incredibly selectively so it makes it sound like he's saying, you know,
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women submit to your men, submit to your husbands when in fact that's not what he was saying in that speech. >> i don't agree with that. i think by the way they've pulled down the entire tape so you can no longer look at the entire 20 minute speech that he gave, but i've seen that speech and i think that that reflects exactly what his conception of women actually are as judged by 30 years of public life. >> you must admit, though, you selectively edited his statements to say something other than what he was talking about at that time. we wouldn't be allowed to do that in news, what gives you the right to do that when you're trying to get people's votes? >> well, as i said before, we've moved away from the whole subject of whether he was quoted in context or out of context. >> he was quoted out of context. you can't argue that. he was quoted out of context. there's no doubt. >> i don't know why you keep saying i can't argue this, that or the other thing. i don't agree with your position here and i think people can reasonably disagree. but what is the first thing a career politician says when he is called to answer for his own
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words? these were his words, not mine. the first thing a career politician like webster says is i was quoted out of context. >> write a journal. second, find a verse. i have a verse for my wife, i have verses for my wife. don't pick the ones that say, she should submit to me. that's in the bible, but pick the ones that you're supposed to do. so instead, you'd love your wife, even as christ loved the church and gave himself for it. and as opposed to wives submit yourself to your own husbands. she can pray that if she wants to. but don't you pray it. >> so that was his full statement. you're saying you didn't take him out of context at all? >> well, actually the term that you used last week is we cleverly edited it and i will let other people decide if that was clever or not. this ad hasn't run for four days and you seem to be anxious to drag it out for some reason that
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i really don't understand. let's talk about -- >> let me tell you why, because you are running for congress, you throw this ad out on television and then don't answer questions about it for days, then you finally come on television the last couple of days and say, oh, that was last week. why do we have to talk about it? if you believe in this ad you should stand up for it. i appreciate you coming on because frankly there are other candidates who don't have the guts to come on and talk about it. but i think it's disingenuous to say this was a week ago, let's move on. >> it's disingenuous for you to say i've avoided answering questions about this ad. are you not the only show on tv. >> i've looked at the transcript. >> i've answered all sorts of questions about this ad from the moment it started to run. you're trying to make it sound like i hid from this when that's absolutely not true. >> what about the other ad you put on tv questioning -- saying he didn't love this country? you stand by the idea that he doesn't love this country? >> i think you're quoting me out of context at this point. >> well, can we play --
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>> isn't that a fair statement? >> i don't know, do we have the ad? can we play the ad? >> i'm congressman alan grayson and i approve this message. >> daniel webster was called to serve our country six times during the vietnam war. each time daniel webster refused the call to service. it breaks an old soldier's heart to think that daniel webster could ever be elected to congress. he doesn't love this country the way i do. daniel webster doesn't care about us. >> so he doesn't love this country the way i do, did you serve in the military? you're making it seem as you if served in the military and he -- that your opponent somehow -- >> does the ad say that or are you making it seem that way? >> i think for any observer would interpret that this guy is unpatriotic and doesn't care about the united states. >> but that's not what you just said. you said i'm making it seem like i served in the military. why do you say things like that? there's nothing in the ad -- >> if you're attacking his
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record for not serving in the military, it makes it sound like you did serve in the military. or maybe that's not your implication and that's fine and that's fair. >> i think what's happening here is you're reaching for ways to attack me and i really don't see the point of that. i'm simply trying to let people know about my opponent's 30-year record as a career politician, despite the fact that people like you try to misconstrue the things that we have said. >> do you think he is unpatriotic? >> i think the ad speaks for itself. >> congressman grayson i do appreciate you being on. appreciate it. thank you. >> okay. thank you, too. >> in the spirit of keeping them honest, we'd love to talk to a string of republican candidates sharron angle, christine o'donnell, rand paul and others, but they've given us the cold shoulder. we've asked sanford bishop to talk about the diversion of black caucus scholarship funds, he'd given to friends of relatives and people on his staff. the invitation is open, we're
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not sure why he's unwilling to talk to us but the invitation stands. live chat is up and running, coming up next tonight, a young gay man's suicide sparking a battle over how to prevent bullying between those who say it's vital to talk about sexuality in schools because the bullies sure do, and those who call that kind of program recruitment for what they say is a gay agenda. two sides square off ahead. we'll also talk to kids who experience bullying firsthand, if you think maybe this isn't a big problem, you'll want to hear from these kids. it's an eye opening discussion. and later my conversation with ellen degeneres. >> it's not a compliment. it doesn't sound like, "that's so gay," it's not going up, it's, "that's so gay," like -- if we changed it, "that's so gay!" like maybe we'd change the inflection and we can turn the whole thing around. to everyone who wants to go to college
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all this week we're exploring the problem of bullying in america and what appears to be a recent epidemic of kids killing themselves after being bullied. i spoke about it tonight with ellen degeneres who is also making this a big part of her programming. we'll show you what she had say later tonight. and what kids have to say, it really opened my eyes. if you think it's not so bad, you need to hear what these kids have to say. the conversation i had with
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these kids is one some schools don't allow. if the discussion veers into sexuality or perceptions into people's sexuality. a number of conservative groups are saying anti-bully education is being used to spread what they call a gay agenda. that's the argument being made right now in minnesota. i want to show you a teenager who recently took his life in minnesota, he was 15 years old when he hanged himself in july. his mom said he was bullied at school. he was gay and also a talented cellist. we found this tribute to him online set to music he composed and performed himself. ♪ >> since justin's death, his mom, tammy, has been fighting to change policy in the local school district because it doesn't specifically address sexuality, even though it's at the root of so many bullying cases. here's what she said last night on larry king. >> they don't have gay or
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lesbian or gender identity language in their harassment policy at all. and the one they have now with the curriculum is the neutrality policy. so teachers don't even know how to intervene in a lot of issues when kids are being bullied or called names. >> so we wanted to look at this. here's what the head of the school policy word for word says. teaching about sexual orientation is not part of the district adopted curriculum, rather such matters are best addressed within individual family homes, churches, community organizations. it goes on, the staff in the course of their professional duties shall remain neutral on matters regarding sexual orientation, including but not limited to student-led discussions. this is how some of the community wants to keep it. a group warns about gay activists using justin's death to push what they call a gay agenda. president tom prichard told the star tribune, quote, i don't think parents want their kids indoctrinated in homosexuality
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and blogged about the death, quote, whatever the exact reason for justin's suicide, it's an enormous tragedy that shouldn't be manipulated for ideological purposes which is what's being done now. he continues, i'll of course be accused of being unloving, hateful et cetera, but is the loving thing to encourage and promote unhealthy and harmful behaviors and practices. >> tom, justin's mother says the bullying he experienced pushed him to kill himself. you say bullying had nothing to do with it and he and other gay teens who kill themselves die because they've adopted in your words an unhealthy lifestyle. >> what i said is we oppose all forms of bullying, and we're concerned about the promotion of curriculums in the schools which promote acceptance of same-sex marriage and same-sex behavior but we never said -- there's a number of factors involved in his death and it's a tragedy and we feel very badly about that
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and think this bullying issue needs to be addressed. >> but you did say, quote, youth who embrace homosexuality are at greater risk because they've embraced an unhealthy sexual identity and lifestyle. >> that was the point the mother made. she said that, and i concur with her -- >> no, no. >> she said that in the star tribune. >> the mother of this boy who killed himself is saying that bullying played a role and he was 13 years old when he came out -- >> it certainly could have. we wouldn't deny it couldn't play a role but we never said it played no role. we're saying obviously there are many factors. >> his mom is now trying to get curriculum changes in the school to get other kids who are gay or identify as gay or lesbian in the schools to get them better accepted, to make them feel more comfortable. you say that homosexual activists in your words are, quote, manipulating his death to push a gay agenda into schools. i mean -- >> i think that's -- i think that's clearly the situation here. the curriculum --
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>> it's his mom, though, trying to get the curriculum changed. are you saying his mom is now a homosexual activist? >> no, you've got a lot of homosexual activists promoting this and our concern is there's a policy dealing with curriculum alone, it doesn't deal with issues of bullying or inappropriate behavior in schools. it's a neutral policy saying you're going to present both sides in the curriculum. >> rosalind, you work in a lot of schools, is that what you're pushing? >> for 20 years i've been trying to get into programs and working with schools to put content into these programs. and if we make it so generalized and just talk about kids should be nice to each other, our children are not only going to laugh at us, they're also going to think we're incompetent. and that's not acceptable when they're so desperate for our help. these neutral programs don't do it. >> he's saying, tom is saying, address the problem, address the bullying. you don't need to necessarily talk about gays and lesbians in specific. >> you cannot address bullying
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without addressing homophobia. you can't do it. because so many children are proving that they have to belong, that they are not gay, that they have to be silent in the face of cruelty. so they don't get this comment of, don't be gay, don't be a fag. so if we don't address this in ways kids can relate to and visualize and that they think we know what we're talking about, then we are not going to be able to give them the services and the support and the programs that they need. >> tom, to some degree, though, aren't gay and lesbian kids coming out at younger and younger ages in schools today? isn't it important to create a safe place for them, a place where they feel comfortable and good about themselves rather than making them feel bad about themselves? >> studies have shown in minnesota that large numbers of kids are insecure with their sexual identity and when you begin promoting, encouraging and endorsing it, more kids are going to say, hey i'm gay and lesbian --
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>> you're using the buzz words like promoting and endorsing and encouraging. i mean, what about just, you know, talking about what is real? i mean, you make it sound as if -- there are gay kids and they're going to be gay kids whether you like it or not. isn't the question how do we make them feel okay about themselves and how do we make them feel safe and want to be able to go to school and get an equal education like everybody else, rather than, we're not about force -- it's not about forcing it down somebody's throat, it's about making these kids not want to kill themselves. >> i think you assume that there are just gay kids over here and others aren't gay over here and they all know it, but i think you're injecting a lot of confusion and you're raising a lot of advocacy issues that we have concerns about. those are controversial topics. i think one has to ask is that really helping promote the mission of the school? >> there are a lot of parents uncomfortable with the notion of their child learning about gays and lesbians from a teacher or
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in the school in the way that the parent doesn't want. whether you agree with that or not is up to our viewers to decide. but it is a fact that a lot of people around the country who don't want that for their kids. so how do you reconcile that with an anti-bullying program? >> i have done work in the most conservative parts of this country, and i have never received pushback from christian parents, evangelical parents, i have only received support. and the reason i believe i received that support is because i say, consistently and believe it with all my heart, that all children, regardless of their sexual orientation, must be treated with dignity. and that is where we begin, and that is where we end. >> got to leave it there. thank you. >> thank you. >> quick programming note, we've been reporting extensively as you know on the michigan assistant attorney general's focus and targets of a college
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student, chris armstrong, the university of michigan's first openly gay student body president. you've heard from the attorney general. you've heard from the assistant attorney general but not from chris armstrong himself. tomorrow only on 360 he joins us, 10:00 p.m. eastern. hope you join us for that. a lot of what happened to chris armstrong fits the textbook description of cyberbullying. up next, my conversation with eight teenagers, what they say about the bullying they've seen, in high schools and middle schools, the kind of bullying that follows them home from school and exists all across the internet. and ellen degeneres on the fatal humiliation of tyler clementi, after a video of him was streamed on to the internet. >> he was in the privacy of his own room and asked for privacy and these other two people thought it would be funny to not only watch but then to stream it live is the cruellest thing i can imagine. e final presentatio♪ ♪ sally, i'm gonna need 40 copies, obviously collated ♪ what's going on?
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all this week we're partnering with "people" magazine, taking an in depth look at bullying. we're calling our coverage, bullying, no escape, because a lot of people forget there's often no escape in the sense that it's not just happening in our schools, it's online, it's on cell phones, on mobile devices, and kids are dying because of it. i sat down with eight teens recently, middle and high school kids, to find out about their firsthand experiences with bullying. listen. so who here has either been bullied or seen somebody else being bullied in your school? raise your hands. all of you. how many of you have actually been bullied? so nearly all of you. how about for you? what kind of bullying did you get? >> i came out of the closet as gay in eighth grade, and ever since i've been bullied, i was, for lack of a better word, and still am, the school faggot. >> people call you that?
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>> every day. >> use the "f" word. >> every day. >> every single day? >> every -- probably about, give or take, ten, 12 times a day. there was a point where a kid had a knife on school premises and said, i'm going to kill him. i want that faggot dead. and i had to transfer schools. >> how about you? you've been bullied as well. >> i've been verbally abused because of my religion. i'm a muslim girl, and it's really hard living in a small town where everyone seems to be an italian catholic or christian, and when you say muslim, it's like you see their faces drop. it's like no one knows what that is or they're scared of it. and it's been hard. like i will -- people won't talk to me anymore once they find out. >> jason, how about you? >> i was bullied on regular day basis from like april of last year to like the end of this school year. one day i didn't even see him
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coming, he came out of nowhere and hit me. he would probably just be calling me names and hitting me, i guess. >> what kind of names? >> oh, like faggot, emo, gay, stuff like that. all because i would probably -- all because i was smarter than him or the music that i listened to. just pretty much if i was different from him he would find a name to call me that was related to the difference and just call me that name. >> it seems like that's pretty much those names are kind of the most common names that bullies will call guys. they'll use the "f" word, is that pretty much everyone's experience here? >> yeah. >> when you hear about kids who have committed suicide, who have killed themselves because of bullying, does it surprise you? >> no. >> not really. >> doesn't surprise you? >> no. because it makes you realize how really serious bullying is, because what some people might think that bullying really isn't that big of a deal, anything
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that causes kids to really kill themselves has to be a big problem. and it needs to be stopped. but -- >> because i think when i hear about it when adults hear about kids, an 11-year-old kid kills himself, or hangs himself, it's shocking, but it's interesting that all of you say you're not surprised by it. >> i think that bullying, when you experience it, you feel so helpless and day in and day out you're being called something. and they're telling you the same message, your life is worthless. >> it takes a hold on your self-esteem. >> you start to believe it. >> you do. and i believed it for a long time. i believed that i did not deserve to live. >> death is the only escape. because if you kill yourself, it's done. you don't have to do it anymore. >> do you think part of the reason some people bully is they're afraid that if they don't they're going to get targeted? >> yeah. >> peer pressure has a lot to do with it.
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>> they'd rather it happen to someone else than themselves. >> so do you it to someone else so it doesn't happen to you? >> a lot of people do. >> is there fear in, you know, talking to people in the school, talking to social workers or talking to teachers or talking to the principal, is there fear in doing that, that it's just going to make the situation worse? >> yeah. >> yes. >> yeah. >> how so? >> you could just get called a snitch, you know, and just, look at the stupid snitch and then you'll just get teased more. >> it can actually make it worse. >> yeah. >> and you guys don't think adults these days really have a conception of how bad it is? >> no. >> they don't take it seriously enough because what could eventually happen is quite possibly suicide. and if an adult is one of those bystanders that just chose not to do anything on that particular day, and that kid goes home and commits suicide, essentially their blood is on your hands. >> let me just play devil's advocate. bulling is something that's been
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around for generations, forever probably. is it something that can really be changed? >> i hear that argument a lot and people say, bullying can't be changed, it's been around forever. but it really can. and how many people deep down inside have empathy, have that consideration that if you can really get down into their soul and make them understand the way that the words affect people, then they can change. >> ellen degeneres has been speaking out, voicing her outrage about the cruelty that spiralled out of control in our schools and beyond. she's urged those to dedicate to the trevor project. text kind to 85944 and you'll be charged a $5 donation to the trevor project. ellen degeneres joins me now. thanks very much for being with us.
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>> thank you, anderson. >> why is this issue so important to you? what was it that really touched you recently? >> well, first of all, i just don't understand bullying, period. i mean, i started out as a comedian and long before i was the target of any jokes, any one-liners on television, i just never believed in making fun of other people. and a lot of comedy is that kind of mean-spirited and that is a form of bullying, of getting a laugh at somebody else's expense. and so i've never really liked it. and then when i came out i was definitely the target of lots of jokes, and it hurt. they weren't -- it was -- they were just putting them out there but it was me they were talking about, and it felt horrible, and so after i came out, matthew shepherd was killed and when he was killed i was devastated because i thought, you know, i could be a face, i could be
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somebody that would represent hope to these kids. >> i know the recent death of tyler clementi in particular prompted you to make your latest plea for the trevor project. what do you think it was about his story that so drew you? >> i think it -- you know, tyler was just kind of another person, it's all of them. it's every -- every single time i hear about a 13-year-old kid or a 15-year-old kid or this 18-year-old kid, tyler, i just -- it's not one person, it seems like it just doesn't seem to stop. and the fact that he was in the privacy of his own room and had asked for privacy and these other two people thought it would be funny to not only watch but then to stream it live is the cruellest thing i can imagine. how they didn't know that that would be devastating for tyler when that got out there. when these things happen, it feels like a direct assault on
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me because i am that person that they are bullying. i am that person that feels like committing suicide, they're talking about me. i'm gay and i have been ostracized my whole life and in society and i'm sent that message on a daily basis by the media, and it hurts. and i want to say to those kids out there, i -- i have been through it, i came out, i am successful, i am happy, i am in love, and -- and there is hope. it doesn't -- you don't have to give up just because there's a short period in your life where it feels like there's no hope. because there's always hope. >> do you find it surprising that people still tell gay jokes? that people still use the "f" word, that people still use that term, you know, "that's so gay." i think i mentioned this to you, i went to a movie theater this weekend and a preview for a new
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vince vaughn movie, in the preview, he uses the term. and it just shocked me that not only would they put this in the movie but put this in the preview that they didn't even think this might offend some people. and i think it should offend a lot of people. >> i think it's so like -- you know, it's -- that message has been going on for so long and no one has stood up to it, that it just is subconscious. it's just subliminal and i think that is what's dangerous. kids see this and whether adults are saying something like that or kids are saying it in the school yard. when you hear it, you're like, that's acceptable to say, and that's -- and it also means, you know, it's not a compliment. it doesn't sound like -- you know, "that's so gay!" it's not going up, it's -- so maybe if we changed it, "that's so gay!" maybe if we change the inflection, we can turn the whole thing around. but i think that's the whole problem, nobody is really
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celebrating the fact, they're making it, and i think it's the parents' responsibility to talk to their kids and say, you know, you have to respect other kids for being different and it's -- it's just -- it really is just ignorance. >> someone said to me that enters a kid's internal dialogue. as an adult you kind of put on armor after a while, if you're lucky. but for a kid they don't have that. and what other people say about them weighs on them. and it can crush them. it can kill them. >> well, they don't have the confidence yet. i mean, i don't think i really fully, you know, started feeling comfortable in my own skin until the last really, you know, ten years or so. and i get more comfortable every year as i get older. but it's movies, it's television, it's politicians, it's society saying you can't be openly gay and be in the military, you can't marry the person you love because you're
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not equal to other people, and when you send that message out there that other people, that there are people in this world that are not the same as you, they're not equal to you because it just is creating a bunch of people that are judging one another and that's never going to -- that's never going to be a good thing. >> ellen degeneres, i appreciate it. thank you. >> thank you so much, anderson. tomorrow on "360," much more on bullying and how the internet and cell phones are making the deadly problem worse. 13-year-old hope witsell killed herself after texting a photo to her boyfend that no one else was supposed to see. >> reporter: hope was a good student, but about a year ago hope did something so unexpected, so out of character, it changed everything. friends and family say this all started in the spring of 2009 at the end of the school year when hope sexted a picture of her breasts to her boyfriend. another girl at school, they say, got her hands on that photo and sent it to students at six
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different schools in the area. before hope could do anything about it, that photo had gone viral. >> just loved everybody. >> reporter: hope's mother donna said she warned her many times about the dark side of cell phones and computers. so after those conversations you never imagined she would sext a photo of herself to someone. >> no. no. no. absolutely not. >> reporter: the photo made hope a target. she was in middle school. 11, 12 and 13-year-olds, and suddenly bullies everywhere. >> well, she couldn't bear the humiliation that followed and ended up hanging herself. we'll have her story tomorrow and also talk to dr. phil about it, and again, bringing you in depth reports on bullying all this week. on friday, our special "bullying: no escape," hope you join us for that. still ahead tonight, career criminal steven hayes convicted of capital murder today, triple murder, a mom and her two daughters tortured before they died.
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we'll tell you what it was like today inside the courtroom when the verdict was read and the first time the soul survivor speaks out. and tonight's shot, the day the circus is taking a terrifying turn when lions attack their trainers. we'll show you that ahead. ♪
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crime and punishment tonight, the first measure of justice for dr. william petit whose wife and two daughters were murdered in 2007 during a home invasion. today a jury after deliberating for four hours convicted steven hayes of capital murder and kidnapping. prosecutors are going to ask for the death penalty. as you know the attack on the petit family was savage. jennifer hawke-petit was sexually assaulted and strangled, her daughters were tied to beds, one of them was assaulted, their rooms doused in gasoline and set ablaze. they died apparently of smoke inhalation. dr. petit was beaten with a baseball bat. he survived though he spoke outside court today. >> there is some relief, but my -- my family is still, still gone. it doesn't bring them back. it doesn't bring back the home that we had.
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but certainly a guilty verdict is a much better sense of relief than a guilty of -- a verdict of not guilty. >> steven hayes' alleged accomplice joshua komisarjevsky will be tried at another date. sunny hostin and michael field, inside the courtroom today. michael what was it like inside the courtroom when the verdict was read? what was steven hayes' reaction? >> you know, verdicts are always tense, anderson. steven hayes really didn't have much reaction to this. he stood throughout the reading of the verdict and there were 17 counts. he didn't actually look down, but he bowed his head just a little bit. i thought possibly we'd see reaction from the 16th count, the one count he wasn't convicted on, arson, but it didn't make any difference. basically no reaction from him in the least. >> what about dr. petit and others in the court? >> they have been incredibly stoic through all of this.
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clearly this was a very stressful moment for them. i saw dr. petit's sister, hannah chapman, she seemed to be having the most problem or stress dealing with this. she had her head down and at one point someone sitting behind her reached around and put his arm around her shoulder. dr. petit didn't have much reaction but that is absolutely typical for him. when it was over, however, when the jury -- jurors had been released and court was recessed for the day, family members stood up, they hugged each other. they were clearly happy with this outcome. >> next is the penalty phase. that will happen before this next guy is even tried. what is the defense at this point going going to try to do to spare this guy's life? >> the prosecution has to prove aggravating factors and one of those factors is whether or not he committed this crime in a heinous and cruel and depraved manner. after hearing all the evidence i think we can all agree the prosecution will be able to do that. the defense is going to try to prove some mitigating factors and i think they'll continue the theme of my guy was culpable but joshua komisarjevsky was really
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the brains behind this, he is the more culpable about this. we'll here more about steven hayes, his criminal history, the fact he has a family and children, he had a woman in his life, he lived with his mother >> it's hard to imagine anyone with children would do this, but the fact that is he on video, surveillance video, buying gasoline before this crime actually even took place seems to indicate premeditation, to at least burn the house down. >> exactly. he was found guilty of 16 of the 17 counts as michael said but not guilty of the arson. it seems sort of counterintuitive. when you look at the charge, it was a 46-page charge, it basically said he had to have lit the match. and i think the jury probably really struggled with that. even though he got the gasoline, did he really set the house on fire? did he light that match? >> michael, obviously this is just one step in a long process for dr. petit and for the town of cheshire, which is not used to seeing this kind of thing. how has dr. petit been dealing
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with all of this? >> you know, it's amazing how of the town of cheshire has supported dr. petit and his family. they've been giving him great support over the years. you know, the site where the house once stood is now a memorial garden. friends and neighbors put this together. they've got a beautiful garden you can walk through it, there's a bench you can sit down, can reflect on the lives of these women that are no longer with us. and there's really no overt markers. i didn't remember seeing the name petit anywhere. but i went a couple of weeks ago and there's a stone marker that has the engraving of three roses, and it just says on it three angels. obviously referring to jennifer hawke-petit and her daughters michaela petit and haley petit. so a lot of support from the town. clearly they'd like to get this behind them. it's been three years. they have at least another trial to go. it's not the end of the beginning but it's getting there. >> do we know when this next trial will take place, when komisarjevsky goes on trial?
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>> they say sometime in 2011. so unfortunately this continues for this family because dr. petit will have to testify again, he was in the courtroom every single day for steven hayes' trial, i would imagine he'll be in the courtroom for the penalty phase which starts october 18 and he'll be there i'm sure for the next trial. >> sunny hostin, appreciate it, and michael as well, thank you very much. up next, the woman who claims her husband was killed by mexican pirates speaks out. expresses shock, she can't understand why anyone would question they were attacked while jet skiing on a lake along the u.s. border with mexico. also unbelievable video, lions go wild attacking their trainers, members of the audience running for their lives. [ evan ] ah it's cool. ah... ah. ah. ah. ah. ah. ah. ah. ah. ah! ah! whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa, what is that? how come my dap wasn't like that? huh? it's just an "us" thing. yeah, it's a little something we do. who else is in this so-called "us"? man, i don't know. there's a lot of us. [ chuckles ] ask your friends what it's like to be part of a group that's 40 million strong.
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a couple minutes left in the program tonight, let's get you updated on some of the other stories we're following. randi? >> a sentence of life in prison today for the would-be times square bomber. faisal shahzad attempted to detonate a car bomb but the plot failed. a defiant shahzad warned a war with islam has begun and a defeat of the u.s. is imminent. and mexico says the american woman who claims her husband was shot and killed by pirates last
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week while they were jet skiing on the lake bordering the u.s. and mexico must officially now file a complaint. tiffany hartley is expected to do that tomorrow. here's what she said about people who doubt the story of her husband's murder. >> it's awful to think that they would think that. i mean, i can't say that, you know i can imagine why they would, but he was my life. he did everything for me, he took care of me, he provided for me, he loved me unconditionally. he was my -- my rock. and look at this horrific video out of brazil. a woman walking in the street was struck behind by a car and thrown into the air. incredibly reports say she suffered only minor injuries. and president obama kept his cool when things didn't go so right for him in washington today. watch this. >> we cannot sustain -- oops.
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was that my -- oh, goodness. that's all right. all of you know who i am. but i'm sure there's somebody back there that's really nervous right now. >> the presidential seal was retrieved of course after the president finished his speech. >> i'm sure a lot of nervous people right then. and our shot from the ukraine, he took his kids to the circus where a lion performance went horribly wrong. a lion attacked his trainer and another lion joined in. a lot of the audience fled the building. apparently the only thing between them was kind of a mesh fence. the injured trainer is reportedly in stable condition, which is incredibly -- >> and the trainer stayed in there and the lions went after them again here, when they get the water canon.
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there he goes right after him again. it's incredible. >> i guess where else -- they couldn't run out because maybe the lions would follow them and maybe the netting would stop them. >> you hear the audience screaming. i would have been out of there so fast. >> unbelievable. randi, thanks so much, and look forward to your report tomorrow on hope witsell and her mom and what happened to hope when she was 13. of the important inforn was gathered together in one place. [ printer whirs ] done. ♪ thanks. do you work here? not yet. from tax info to debunking myths, the field guide to evolving your workforce has everything you need. download it now at
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